A RECORD number of children have sought help from Childline over suicidal thoughts.

The NSPCC help and advice service provided 62 counselling sessions each day last year for children tormented by thoughts of ending their own lives.

Children as young as 10 were reaching out for help after contemplating suicide, the charity said.

Overall, eight per cent of Childline’s 295,000 counselling sessions last year were for youngsters with suicidal thoughts. This is the highest level the charity has ever recorded, according to its 2016/17 annual review.

Of the 22,456 counselling sessions for suicide, 2,061 were for youngsters deemed to be “actively suicidal” – meaning they had already done things like written a note, given away meaningful items or planned their death.

The charity said young people were most likely to be counselled about suicidal thoughts and feelings on Monday evenings, and most children confided to counsellors online via the charity’s 1-2-1 chat service, or by email.

Overall, one in three counselling sessions were given for children with mental or emotional problems.

The report states that some young people described having difficulty getting NHS help from their local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

While some were on waiting lists, others said they were told they didn’t meet the criteria for CAMHS support – though this may have been because they had been referred to a more appropriate service.

The second most common reason children contacted the support service was for family relationships and the third most common was bullying and cyber bullying.

Meanwhile, 106 children contacted the advice line about concerns over terrorism, radicalisation or extremism.

Childline founder and president Esther Rantzen said: “Today’s tragic statistics prove that Childline is more crucial than ever and, for some, literally a lifeline."

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